A direct part mark is a process used to permanently mark a part. This direct part mark is used for part identification, item level traceability, or for design or aesthetic purposes.
Part identification using a direct part mark is very common for manufactured components. We see this with part numbers, part names, and descriptive text marked on just about any material and type of product.
Part traceability is enabled when a part is marked permanently with a bar code that is machine readable. These marks can range from a UPC code on a consumer product to a laser marked 2D Data Matrix code marked on an aerospace part.
Logos or graphics files can be directly marked onto materials allowing for branding, aesthetic improvements, or schematics such as a circuit diagram. If you can design it using software in most cases the file can be transferred and marked on a part.
Direct Part Marks can essentially be made one of three ways:
Surface Mark - permanent mark is added to the surface or possibly a slight surface upset
Etched Mark - the surface of the part is disturbed to a noticeable depth with the change in surface properties showing a contrast that becomes the visible mark
Engraved Mark - deeper mark into the surface designed to survive coatings or harsh environments